Last week was Kansas kids camp. During this week, we were not counselors, rather we were in charge of games, skits, keeping the tally of points, serving food for the tiny young children who couldn’t reach the food themselves, and even room checkers. While doing these various tasks I felt as if I was unnecessary, that what I was doing was insignificant in the kingdom of God. Looking back now, I have realized that sometimes the Lord calls us to do tasks that we don’t think we are not prepared for and that we don’t want to do. But no matter how small and insignificant the task may seem, there is always significance in the work the Lord calls us to do.
During the Iowa Jr. High camp I had a great group of men. There were 9 of them and I had a co-counselor. Many of the men in the cabin were quite unique but I was able to connect through some mind games, such as how many bears like to dance to music? (the answer is 5 because it is the number of words after bears). The campers soon became obsessive over the games but they did really love me because of them. That led us as a cabin to a really cool night. Thursday night in Iowa is considered Holy night. This particular night all the campers were given mirrors to write different things that keep them from their hopes and dreams. When they look at the mirror many of them wrote that they were worthless. Then we went for a walk as a cabin down to crosses along the river and there they were given the gospel message. Then the counselors were able to wipe the mirrors clean if the students wanted them clean. From there the campers were challenged to spend one on one time with the counselors and share with them where their relationship is with God. I had the unique opportunity during those conversations to really be a mentor and actually lead 3 campers to Christ. This may one of the first times I have ever led someone to Christ so I was on cloud nine and then one of those campers has actually been emailing me for more insight on who God is, which really makes my day every time I get a cool email like that. Then we got back to the room and a few of the campers had glow sticks which they proceeded to break open and throw glow all around the room. I don’t know if I have ever seen a cooler room in my life. We compared the brilliance of the night sky to our room and the room definitely won. We ended up getting in trouble for being too loud, but it was still very cool!! A prayer request for our team is that the next two weeks we are not counselors and are simply in charge of games and doing a few skits so pray for servant hearts and creativity of brains.
The past two weeks for me have been greatly humbling and influential. During the Junior High Iowa-Minnesota camp, two students from the Senior High week let me know of the impact I had the week before. To realize the impact of my actions was refreshing, and was quite encouraging. Also during that week, God taught me some of my weaknesses in regard to interacting with others. I struggle with connecting with people who are opposite of me in personality. I was stuck with a cabin full of these students, and it was quite challenging to find a connection there. While driving to the next camp in McPherson, KS, I was again reminded of the beauty of God’s creation. Being awake alone looking out on the surroundings was refreshing, and reminded me that everything on this earth belongs to Him, which can be easy to forget at times. The realization again that everything I do is to the glory of God has encouraged me for the next four weeks. I am pumped to see what God has in store for us.
The past two weeks have taught me how important it is to have one-on-one conversations. During Iowa Jr. High camp, I had a cabin of fourteen pre-teen girls. They were a lot of fun, loved to stay up late, and some of them had the tendency to attract drama. It was hard to get to know all of the girls. I had a co-counselor, Ali, who was amazing. But even with her, I struggled to find opportunities to talk to the girls.
The way that I finally started to get to know them was not through cabin times, but through the one on one conversations. A couple times I made a date with the girls during free time. One of these dates really led to some intense conversation. At first, this girl just seemed to be a little bit different and really shy. But as I spent time with her, talking about anything and everything, but mostly Anime. This led to conversations about her friends, her home life, and her more of what she likes to do. From there, I really learned what she was struggling with and what kind of help she needed.
Another time, I was laying down to take down to take a nap along with a few of my girls. One of them wanted to go up to the snack shack, but wanted someone to go with her. None of the other girls who were taking a nap would go. While I really wanted to just fall asleep, I knew that the Spirit wanted me to go with her, and that whatever happened would be awesome. So I went. We got up to the snack shack, and while we were in a room full of people, we had an awesome private conversation. I got to hear her story and what she struggles with, along with share some of my own story and what I struggle with as well. That moment set the tone for the rest of the week, and she was much more transparent with the group and with me individually.
During kids camp it was harder to find time to talk with the campers, especially since we were not counselors. But one day at lunch, I was sitting with a group of the girls on my team, and they started asking me some really tough questions. Why did God create the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil if He knew that it would bring sin into the world? Was Hitler a Christian? What's the difference between Christians and Jews? It was amazing to talk with these girls and share what I know, and sometimes say, "I don't know." This little conversation showed me how much God can do even if I'm not a counselor.
A few prayer requests:
The next two weeks we are not counselors. Pray that God would give us servants' hearts to go out of our way to do whatever needs to be done.
Some of the campers that we have already been with are keeping in contact with us. Pray that these relationships continue to develop and that God works in powerful ways even though camp is over.
Pray that we would continue to be united as a team, that God would draw us closer together and use us to sharpen and encourage one another.
Rachel woke up Sunday morning feeling sick. Today (Monday) she feels even worse. Pray that God would provide time to rest so she can get over the sickness.